Sunglasses: Have They Been Taken A Shade Too Far?

Growing up, sunglasses were just something your parents would make you wear for health and safety to protect your eyes from the sun’s harsh rays.

Growing up, sunglasses were just something your parents would make you wear for health and safety to protect your eyes from the sun’s harsh rays. But now they’ve gained their own fashion status and can be added to any outfit to complete the look.

I remember my first pair of sunglasses that my Nan bought me when we’d been to Disney World, Orlando. They were a gaudy blue wayfarer style with Mickey Mouse on one side of the frame. Not only that, we also bought an illuminous green cord lanyard so I wouldn’t I lose them whilst enjoying theme parks. I know what most of you are thinking – ‘how did you find anything to wear with them’ – but you got to remember I was only a kid; fashion wasn’t on my radar back then unlike today.

Being style conscious is even more important in today’s society as we are exposed to fashion in so many different ways. However, its sunglasses that have recently come into a market of their own. With Ray-Ban, the UK’s favourite sunglasses brand, leading the way in the market because of the recognisable signature on the lens. It’s no wonder we are seeing more sunglasses on the street. Are people just interested in optical protection or is it more about following trends or trying to do something more with eyewear?

Reflecting on the recent interview with designer, Henry Holland on his new range of sunglasses in ‘Dazed and Confused’ where he was asked: ‘What would you get up to in these sunglasses?’ He responded with how they are useful on a ‘walk of shame Sunday’ to hide those tired, hung-over eyes. So with this in mind I decided to take to Twitter and Facebook for my peer’s views on shades:

Alice Byrne, a student, says ‘I wear sunglasses when it’s sunny outside because they make it easier to see and to protect my eyes, fashion comes second. And I hate when people wear sunglasses inside’.

Kasia Kuczynska, a manager working in retail, says that it’s ‘mainly because of fashion’ adding that when she sees sunglasses in ‘high fashion, on TV etc. it creates some form of excitement and adds mystery’.

Leah Fitzpatrick, a manager in high street store, Republic, says she uses sunglasses on sunny days ‘to hide her tired eyes’.

My own preference for wearing sunglasses falls hand in hand with alcohol. There’s nothing I enjoy more than slipping on my ‘sunnies’ whilst enjoying an ice cold cider and the rare British sunshine. This year though I decided to invest in a pair of Ray-Bans, choosing the Wayfarer as my style of choice, to compliment any of my outfits for Spanish music festival, Benicassim. Paying £90 for a pair of sunglasses left quite a dent in my bank balance but because I’d paid extra for them to have prescription lenses I felt they were a must-have. For me, they were multi-functional as protection from the Spanish sun, to hide my tired, drunk or hung-over eyes and so I could actually see the acts on stage.

Festivals seem to break the rules of sunglasses wearing. If it’s raining you can still wear them and if your ensemble doesn’t match your style then no biggy! There are certain fashion faux pas that I detest when it comes to the protective eyewear. My biggest pet hate is people that insist on wearing sunglasses with a beanie hat. The mashing together of two seasons, summer and winter, doesn’t create much to be desired for, as the warmth the hat provides contradicts the shielding of the sun that is probably not even there. With this is the wearing of SUNglasses in the rain (festivals exempt) and the wearing of SUNglasses at night when there is no bloody sun; wearing them inside fits into this as well – I mean come on!

It seems that sunglasses are now becoming a must-have accessory in the summertime, just like having that certain handbags or jewellery.

When do you wear your sunglasses?